Informe Caithness Windfarm Information Forum 2013 sobre accidentes e incidentes en el sector eólico

image_galleryOs dejamos una noticia que ha sido elaborada por  Caithness Windfarm Information Forum 2013 en su pagina web sobre los accidentes registrados en los últimos años y hasta Junio 2013.

A continuación recogemos un informe muy interesante elaborado por el  Caithness Windfarm Information Forum 2013 ( donde se refieren  los accidentes e incidentes registrados en el sector eólico en los últimos años y hasta Junio 2013.

 Como indica el informe, los accidentes e incidentes referenciados son los documentados y confirmados a través de reseñas en prensa y/o los recogidos y registrados oficialmente por parte de diversos tipos de organismos.

The accompanying detailed table includes all documented cases of wind turbinerelated accidents and incidents which could be found and confirmed through press reports or official information releases up to 30 June 2013.CWIF believe that this compendium of accident information may be the most comprehensive available anywhere.
Data in the detailed table is by no means fully comprehensive – CWIF believe that it is only the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of numbers of   accidents and their frequency. Indeed o n 11 December 2011 the Daily Telegraph reported that RenewableUK confirmed that there   had been 1500 wind turbine accidents and incidents in the UK alone in the past 5 years. Data here reports only 142 UK accidents from 2006 – 2010 and so the figures here may only represent 9% of actual accident s. T he data does however give an excellent cross -section of the types of accidents which can and do occur , and their consequences.
With few exceptions, before about 1997 only data on fatal accidents has been found. The trend is as expected – as more turbines are built, more accidents occur.Numbers of recorded accidents refle ct this, with an average of 8 accidents per y ear from 199 3 – 9 7 inclusive; 33
accidents per year from 1998-2002 Inclusive; 80 accidents per year from 200 3 – 0 7 inclusive , and 141 accidentsper year from 2008-12 inclusive.
Tabla 1
Tabla 1. Evolución de accidentes por año
This general trend upward in accidente numbers is predicted to continue to escalate unless HSE maje some significant changes – in particular to protect the public by declaring a minimum safe distance between new turbine developments and occupied housing and buildings.

Some counties are finally accepting that industrial wind turbines can pose a signicant public health and safety risk. In new Zealand, the government is set to change planning rules to give residents  the rigth to veto wind turbines from being built with in 2 km of their homes. In Australia, the Victorian government has set guideline is also in place between large wind farm developments and  communities, though the guideline is disgracefully ignored by the Scottish government. And in Canada, the Ontario Government has declared a moratorium on offshore wind projects and has proposed a reduction of noise from wind turbines from 40 DB to 30-32 dB, which would effectively extend the setback distance from homes. 

Detailed data is presented chronologically. It can be broken down as follows:


Number of accidents

Total number of accidents: 1405

 By year:

Tabla 2

Fatal accidents

Number of fatal accidents: 102

By year:

tabla 3

Please note: There are more fatalities than accidents as some accidents hace caused multiple fatalities.

Of the 136 fatalities:

  • 84 were wind industry and direct support workers (drivers, construction, maintenance, engineers, etc), or small turbine owner/operators.
  • 52 were public fatalities, including workers not directly dependent on the wind industry (e.g. transport workers). 17 bus passengers were killen in one single incident in Brazil in March 2012.

Human injury

121 accidents regarding human injury are documented.

By year:

tabla 498 accidents involved wind industry or construction/maintenance workers, and a further 23 involved members of the public or workers not directly dependent on the wind industry (e.g. fire fighthers, transport workers). Six of these injuries to members of the public were in the UK.

Human Health

24 incidents of wind turbines impacting upon human health are included.

By year:

tabla 5Since 2012, human health incidents and adverse impact upon human health have been included. These were previously filed under “miscellaneous” but CWIF believe thah they deserve a category of ther own. Incidents include reports of ill-health and effects due to turbine noise, shadow flicker, etc. Such reports are predicted to increase significantly as turbines are increasingly aprroved and built in unsuitable locations, close to people´s homes.

Blade failure

By far the biggest number of incidents found was due to blade failure. “Blade failure” can arise from a number of possible sources, and results in either whole blades or pieces of blades being thrown from the turbine. A total of 265 separate incidences were found:

By year

tabla 6Pieces of blade are documented as travelling up to one mile. In Germany, blade pieces have gone through the roofs and walls of nearby buildings. This is why CWIF bleive that there should be a minimum distance of at least 2 km between turbines and occupied housing, in order to adequately address public safety and other issues including noise and shadow flicker.


Fire is the second most common accident cause in incidents found. Fire can arise from a number of sources – and some turbine types seem more prone to fire than others. A total of 202 fire incidents were found:

By year:

tabla 7

The biggest problem with turbine fires is that, because of the turbine height, the fire brigade can do little but watch it burs itself out. While this may be acceptable in reasonably still conditions, in a storm it means burning debris being scattered over a wide area, with obvious consequences. In dry weather there is obviously a wider-area fire risk, especially for those constructed in or else to forest areas and/or close to housing. Three fire accidents have badly burned wind industry workers.

Structural failure

From the data obtained, this is the third most common accident cause, with 138 instances found. “Structural failure” is assumed to be major component failure under conditions which components should be designed to withstand.  This mainly concerns storm damage to turbines and tower collapse. However, poor quality control, lack of maintenance and component failure can also be responsible.

By year:

tabla 8

While structural failure is far more damaging (and more expensive) than blade failure, the accident consequences and risks to human health are most likely lower, as risks are confined to within a relatively short distance from the turbine. However, as smaller turbines are now being place on and around buildings including schools, the accident frequency is expected to rise.

Ice throw

34 incidences of ice throw were found. Some are multiple incidents. These are listed here unless the have caused human injury, in which case they are included under “human injury” above.

By year

tabla 9

Ice throw has been reported to 140m. Some Canadian turbine sites have warning sings posted asking people to stay at least 305m from turbines during icy conditions.

These are indeed only a very small fraction of actual incidences – a report* publiseh in 2003 reported 880 icing events between 1990 and 2003 in Germany alone. 33 % of these were in the lowlands and on the coastline

* (“A Statistical Evaluation of Icing Failures in Germany´s 250 MW Wind Programme – Update 2003, M Durstwitz, BOREAS VI 9-11 April 2003 Pyhätunturi, Finland)

Additionally one report listed for 2005 includes 94 separate incidences of ice throw and two reports from 2006 include a further 27 such incidences.



There have been 113 reported accidents-including a 45 m turbine section ramming through a house while being transported, a transporter knocking a utility pole through a restaurant, and a turbine section falling off in a tunnel. Transport fatalities and human injuries are included separately. Most accidents involve turbine sections falling from transporters, though turbine sections have also been lost at sea, along with a £50 M barge. Transport is the single biggest cause of public fatalities.

By year

 tabla 10

Environmental damage (including bird deaths)

128 cases of environmental damage have been reported-the majority since 2007. This is perhaps due to a change in legislation or new reporting requirement. All involved damage to the site itself, or reported damage to or death of wildlife. 55 instances reported here include confirmed deaths of protected species of bird. Deaths, however, are known to be far higher. At the Altamont Pass wind farm alone, 2440 protected golden eagles have been killed in 20 years, and about 10,000 protected raptors (Dr Smallwood, 2004). In Germany, 32 protected white tailed eagles were found dead, killed by wind turbines (Brandenburg State records).  In Australia, 22 criticaly endangered Tasmanian eagles were killed by a single windfarm (Woolnorth). Futher detailed information can be found at: and at: www.iberica2000org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=1875

By year:

tabla 11

Other (miscellaneous)

282 miscellaneous accidents are also present in the data. Component failure has been reported here if there has been no consequential structural damage. Also included are lack of maintenance, electrical failure (not led to fire or electrocution), etc. Construction and construction support accidents are also included, also lightning strikes when a strike has not resulted in blade damage or fire. A separate 1996 report** quotes 393 reports of lightning strikes from 1992 to 1995 in Germany alone, 124 of those direct to the turbine, the rest are to electrical distribution network .

** (Data from WMEP database: taken from report “External Conditions for Wind Turbine Operation– Results from the German „250 MW Wind‟ Programme”, M Durstewitz, et al, European Union Wind Energy Conference, Goeteborg, May 20 – 24, 1996)

By year:

tabla 12

Caithness Windfarm Information Forum

30 June 2013

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